Never go caving with a bun in the oven,
It’s just not the safe thing to do.
Since you can’t see your feet,
You might slip on some peat,
and at the very least, blow out a shoe.
The view from the upper Makau Cave.
Never go caving with a bun in the oven,
You really shouldn’t even wander that far.
You might get lost along the way,
which would ruin your day,
’cause you left all your snacks in the car.
Never go caving with a bun in the oven,
It’s much easier just visiting the zoo.
You might get bats in your hair,
Rouse an angry bear,
and be miles away from a loo.
Never go caving with a bun in the oven,
When you could just take a stroll in the park.
The baby might kick,
And then you’d have to move quick,
To avoid being trapped in the dark.
Never go caving with a bun in the oven,
When you could stay in bed watching Netflix.
You might step on a snake,
Your water could break,
and then there’s those darn braxton hicks!
Big John at lower Makau Cave.
Thanks for visiting Big John’s Adventures in Travel . I hope you learned some valuable lessons as to why one should never go caving with a bun in the oven. Whether with child or not, feel free to explore more of my site.
Mahalo and happy travels,
Posted in Adventurous Places, North America, Scattered Thoughts, Travel Tips and tagged Hawaii, Oahu, upper Makau cave by Big John with no comments yet.
Are you considering an All-American family vacation this year, weary of Disney, but not yet certain where you really want to go? If this sounds like you, Big John has compiled a star-spangled list of fun-filled family getaways for all fifty states. Not impressed? You should be. It can be quite difficult finding that perfect place for respite and leisure in remote places such as North Dakota.
Still, Big John’s Adventures in Travel believes some of life’s greatest adventures can be found in the most unlikely of places. So without further ado, let’s go explore these fantastic family getaways in the land of the free and the home of the brave. When we’re all through, perhaps Big John will have inspired you to plan that perfect family vacation of your own.
Nothing says fun in the sun while in the Yellowhammer State like the Beach Club in Gulf Shores. Their sugar-sand beaches make this resort a true tropical paradise. The site has five outdoor pools, savory dining options, a full-service spa, and numerous other resort amenities. There’s truly something special about the Beach Club! Phone:(866)348-9112
Alaska is known as The Last Frontier and the Hotel Alyeska seemingly knows no boundaries. This premier ski resort destination, nestled in the Chugach Mountain Range, offers countless amazing activities to include fishing, bicycling, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, flightseeing, alpine skiing, snowboarding, and more. Phone:(907) 754-2111
The Copper State has much to offer their guests when they book their stay at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix. This 220 acre resort boasts a top-notch golf course, a phenomenal water park, fine cuisine, and a whole lot more. All rooms at this resort feature a private balcony or patio. Phone:(602)438-9000
If canoes, cabins, and zip lines are your thing, then the Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca is your place for staying and playing inside The Natural State. This premier resort is located in the scenic mountain region of the Buffalo National River. Phone:(870)861-5514
Arguably, the Golden State outshines them all with this luxury Squaw Valley ski resort in Lake Tahoe. The Resort at Squaw Creek features 405 lodge-style guest rooms, an award-winning golf course, its own private chairlift, and much more. Phone:(530)583-6300
For an all-inclusive resort experience in the Centennial State, Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs is second to none. This Luxury Dude Ranch boasts a small guest count keeping your stay intimate, friendly, and fun. Phone: (970)879-3858
Situated along the Long Island Sound, The Water’s Edge Resort & Spa offers a private beach and spectacular ocean views. This Constitution State resort boasts a luxury spa and on-site restaurant as well. Phone:(860)399-5901
For a Victorian-styled oceanfront retreat, look no further than the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel in Rehoboth Beach. This First State resort features fine Atlantic Ocean dining, heated pools, and plenty more. Phone:(302)227-7169
Visit the Sunshine State’s most popular all-inclusive family resort at Club Med Sandpiper Bay. The resort sports an impressive 20 tennis courts, 8 sand volleyball courts, and an 18-hole on-site golf course. For those with kids, the thrilling water park will keep them smiling. This premium sports resort is located right on the St. Lucie River. Phone:(772)337-6638
This breathtaking Peach State resort consistently rates as one of the top resorts in the world. Just visit St. Simons Island and you will see why. The Sea Island Resort offers three varied settings to suit every taste. Guests can stay Oceanside, riverfront, or right off the golf course. Phone:(855)714-9201
Over 62 tropical acres of the Aloha State can be found inside the sprawling Hilton Waikoloa Village in Waikoloa . Amongst other magnificent treasures, this resort offers a black sand beach, a swimming lagoon with sea turtles, and a dolphin encounter experience. Phone:(808)886-1234
This luxury Gem State resort is located on the north shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene. It is suitably referred to as the “Playground of the Pacific Northwest”. This massive hotel has 338 guest rooms, an award-winning spa, a golf course, marina, and a whole lot more. Phone:(208)209-5031
When in the Land of Lincoln, you’d be hard-pressed to find a finer place for leisure than the Eaglewood Resort & Spa. The resort offers amazing golf, fine dining, cosmic bowling and more. The location is just outside Chicago’s hustle and bustle but close enough to make any excursion into the city an easy one. Phone:(630)773-1400
Perhaps the most impressive complex in the entire Hoosier State, this 3,000-acre vacation spot includes two historic resort spa hotels, riding stables, a Vegas-style casino and three superb golf courses. Phone:(888)936-9360
This Hawkeye State resort is more than just a fun day at the lake. The complex contains 100 guest rooms and suites, four cottages, indoor and outdoor water parks, and many other accommodations for guests of all ages. Phone:(712) 213-4500
Your Great Wolf Lodge adventure inside the Sunflower State begins in this massive 84-degree indoor water park. Splash away the day in over 38,000 square feet of water-packed excitement. The facility offers a variety of Northwoods theme suites, dining options, and an array of activities to compliment the stay. Phone:(913) 299-7001
The Cliffview Resort is a rustic adventure site in the eastern part of the Bluegrass State. The place sits next to the Red River Gorge and Daniel Boone National Forest. The resort offers lodges and cabin rentals with modern amenities. Activities include zip lines, fishing, hiking, rock climbing and more. Phone:(888)596-0525
You can’t get any luckier than to book a stay at the waterfront L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles. This Pelican State resort features 6 restaurants, a marina, and a full-service spa on site. Additionally, a golf course, a casino, and a fitness center are on site along with plenty to do for the kids. Phone:(337)395-7777
The fact that this Pine Tree State resort is nestled on picturesque Frenchman’s Bay should be reason enough to stay here. The Harborside Hotel & Spa is considered the premier hotel of Bar Harbor. This place has all the stellar amenities one could wish for while vacationing in Maine. Phone:(207)288-5033
Family vacations don’t get any better than at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort. This vacation mecca inside the Old Line State combines real Eastern Shore relaxation with an entire array of adventurous activities. Book today for the time of your life. Phone:(410)901-1234
The Bay State got it’s nickname from places like Cape Cod at Green Harbor. Escape away to this beachfront resort situated on 7.5 acres of scenic splendor. Whether you prefer the luxurious outdoor pool overlooking Nantucket Sound, row boating and canoeing in ocean waters, or whatever might float your boat, fun for all awaits your stay at Green Harbor. Phone:(800)227-3263
This is the Midwest’s premier four-season family resort featuring some of the finest accommodations the Wolverine State has to offer. Amenities include 36 holes of championship golf, 50 downhill ski slopes, 30km of cross-country trails, and an award-winning spa. Phone:(855)995-5146
For good old-fashioned lake fun in the North Star State, visit Madden’s Resort in Brainerd. Sprawling across 1,500 acres on Gull Lake’s Pine Beach Peninsula, the resort’s amenities include fishing, boating, swimming beaches, golfing and lawn games. Phone:(218)829-2811
The Magnolia State doesn’t scrimp when it comes to luxury resorts. The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino is certainly no exception to that rule. This state-of-the-art casino resort offers something for every member of your family. There an award-winning spa and salon, a championship golf course, indulgent restaurants and shopping, decadent pools, arcades, and more. Phone:(228)386-7444
Since we’re talking about the Show Me State, allow me to show you a private lake and wilderness retreat in nearly 500 acres of the Mark Twain National Forest. Nestled on the shores of Table Rock Lake, the Stonewater Cove Resort combines natural beauty and outdoor fun with unbelievable indoor luxury. Activities include lake and forest adventures, spas, zip lining, ATV riding, fishing, kayaking, and more! Phone:(417)858-2563
The Resort at Paws Up is a luxury ranch resort situated on 37,000 sprawling acres of The Treasure State. Guests have the option of choosing between an expansive private home or a sophisticated, safari-style luxury tent. The working ranch provides an unfiltered connection with the natural beauty and ruggedness of Montana. Spend your time on horseback or cast a fly and catch trout. This first-class adventure resort is every sportsman’s dream. Phone:(406) 244-5200
Are you looking to the Cornhusker State for that best spot for the family to hunt, fish, or simply recreate? If so, then the Blue Creek Lodge is definitely the place for you. This place may be a hunter’s paradise but it has all the luxuries of a 5 star resort. This place is pet-friendly as well. Phone:(308)772-9912
Escape the neon lights of Vegas and wind down with family at the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort in Henderson. This Silver State resort was named as one of the “world’s best hotels” by Travel + Leisure. The provides an extraordinary list of outdoor activities to include paddle-boarding, kayaking, mountain biking, zip lining, and more. Phone:(702) 567-6000
With breathtaking views of the White Mountains, the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa offers hotel guests an experience unlike any other resort in the Granite State. This New Hampshire getaway is perfect for vacationing with your entire family. The resort offers a wide range of amenities and activities to include: golfing, in-house spa treatments, indoor and outdoor pools, camp fires, dog sled adventures, and more. Phone:(855)837-2100
Your family can renew their spirits at the Ocean Place Resort Spa. This opulent Garden State hotel features 15 spa treatment rooms, massage services, and locker rooms with steam facilities and a whirlpool . Spend the afternoon lounging in one of two swimming pristine pools, or take to the beach, to experience those Jersey shores. Dine on tantalizing cuisine or engage in numerous activities such as biking and boating. Phone:(732)571-4000
It’s only fitting that the Lodge Resort and Spa was created in the Land of Enchantment. This popular New Mexico mountain resort has much to offer. Enjoy a refreshing dip in their heated outdoor pool. Play a round of golf, or just relax with a soothing spa treatment. The Lodge provides a historical setting unlike any other place in New Mexico. For a quiet weekend getaway or an active family vacation, this place can’t be beat. Phone:(800)395-6343
The Empire State must be mighty proud! Rocking Horse Ranch was rated one of the top 10 family resorts in the United States by Traveler’s Choice. This all-inclusive vacation spot has horse adventures, an indoor water park, and more activities than you can shake a stick at! Phone:(800)647-2624
If you want a vacation steeped in history, then you’ll want to travel to the Tar Heel State and book your vacation at the legendary Omni Grove Park Inn. This century old hotel has hosted everyone from movie stars to presidents. Situated on a western facing slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this historic Inn is anyone’s dream North Carolina vacation. Amenities include a 40,000 square foot spa, fine dining, kids activities, and more. Phone:(828)252-2711
If you plan on doing a little hunting or fishing during your family getaway, then you probably have no business vacationing anywhere else other than in the Peace Garden State. The Lakeview Meadow is located right in between the Jamestown and the Pipestem Reservoirs. Both places are ideal to fishing whether it’s during the summer or winter ice fishing months. The resort is also located in the heart of prime hunting area for waterfowl, upland game and big game such as whitetail deer. This is North Dakota styled vacationing at its best! Phone:(701)252-5100
This Buckeye State golf and marina resort sits atop 235 acres adjacent to the Sheldon Marsh Nature Preserve. It is located just 7 miles from the Cedar Point Amusement Park and less than 10 miles from Thomas Edison ‘s Birthplace. The property features an 18-hole golf course, a 176-slip marina and shops inside an 1887 barn. Dining options include an upscale-casual eatery, an Irish pub, a seafood restaurant , and a casual deli. Water sports activities are available. Phone:(419)433-3800
Folks in the Sooner State really love their horses. So if you plan to spend your family vacation in Oklahoma, you’d best get with the program. Gold Skye Ranch is famous for its quality blend of trained horses, making your first horse riding experience one you won’t wish to forget. At GoldSkye, you can simply lose yourself within the many fun activities to see and do. Amenities offered include cabin rentals, fishing, kid games, basketball, camping , swimming, and more. Phone:(580)549-4012
You know you’re in the Beaver State when you’re standing on the majestic Mount Hood. The resort at the Mountain, an upscale golf and spa resort is 1.4 miles from the Salmon River Trail and 1.8 miles from Mount Hood Village. In addition to a 27-hole golf course and a day spa, amenities include a fitness center, an outdoor pool, tennis courts and two restaurants. Phone:(503)622-3101
Situated on 2,000 acres, the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is arguably the most luxuriant resort in the entire Keystone State. In addition to an internationally acclaimed spa, the resort offers 36-holes of championship golf on two courses – the PGA-tested Mystic and the traditional Links Course. The resort’s facilities at Mystic Mountain offer both downhill and cross-country skiing your winter recreational needs. Phone:(724) 329-8555
For a truly relaxing time with the family, visit the Newport Beach Hotel & Suites. You’ll drift away with the lulling sound of ocean just a few feet away . This Plantation State Resort features an indoor pool and hot tub with a cascading water wall. The rooftop deck has a hot tub, fire pit, outdoor shower, and seating areas overlooking the falls at Newport Pond. Phone:(401)846-0310
The Sanctuary Hotel was awarded the Forbes Five Star Award for excellence. This Palmetto State resort offers 255 spacious rooms and suites and are among the largest on the East Coast. All hotel rooms are uniquely designed to include such exquisite amenities as a handcrafted desk and armoire, an elegantly appointed sofa and chair, and custom-made beds. Aside from world-class golfing, amenities include swimming pools, family activities, youth programs, and various lessons and classes. Phone:(800)576-1570
The historic town of Deadwood is my favorite place in the Mount Rushmore State. This contemporary casino resort is centrally located to all Black Hills attractions. Some of these sleek rooms even have balconies with amazing views to the surrounding hills. Amenities include 2 on-site restaurants (where kids 12 and under eat free), a casino, an indoor pool, hot tub and an entertainment/recreation center. Phone:(605)559-0386
Situated just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Riverstone Resort & Spa offers spacious condo rentals for that one-of-a-kind family vacation. Luxurious professional design coupled with elegance offers up amenities such as full-size kitchens, elegant stone fireplaces, and more. Stay one time at this Volunteer State resort and you’ll be volunteerin’ to come back and stay some more! Phone:(866)908-0990
The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort has really set the standard for luxury in the Lone Star State! This resort features the 36-hole TPC San Antonio golf course, a six acre water park, and seven restaurants of various cuisine. The full-service spa and fitness center on site are also sure to please. Phone:(210)276-2500
This luxury Beehive State Resort is located between downtown St. George and Zion National Park. The suites unique styling pairs old world charm with southwest motif for results that are sure to please. The site features all the amenities one would come to expect in high living. With the Grand Canyon nearby, this one easily makes my list. Phone:(435) 879-5839
Elegance is the word most often used to describe this Green Mountain State Resort. All of their rooms contain period furnishings and rental homes come fully equipped with kitchens. There’s an outdoor pool & spa on site, as well as some of the best skiing in Vermont. Phone:(802)226-7688
This historic Old Dominion resort sits on a 2,600-acre nature preserve. Guests have the option of a sophisticated room, a private houses, or a charming cottage or cabin. Amenities at the Mountain Lake Lodge include river access, an outdoor pool, a lake and hiking trails. There’s also a restaurant serving Appalachian-style dishes and a tavern on site. Phone:(540)626-7121
Life in the Evergreen State is great when staying at Campbell’s Resort on Lake Chelan. This beachside vacation spot rests at the southern tip of beautiful Lake Chelan. The contemporary rooms include patios or balconies with spectacular lake views. Local seasonal local dishes are served on site. There’s also a spa and a host of children’s activities. Phone:(509)682-2561
This Mountain State hotel and ski resort is set amidst a gorgeous 4,100 acre property in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. The Resort at Glade Springs is a premier, full-service West Virginia resort offering an extensive variety of recreational activities and lodging accommodations. Phone:(304)763-2000
If you’re looking for that perfect getaway in the Badger State, then you’re sure to find it at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. Enjoy the pampered life or engage in endless activities. Go horseback riding, ski down a snowy slope, or take a long drive down a fairway on two championship golf courses. Phone:(262)248-8811
This Equality State resort is last but definitely not least! Conde Nast Traveler voted the Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek Ranch the #2 Hotel & Resort in the World, #1 Resort in the USA and #1 Dude Ranch in the USA! Come to where luxury encompasses God’s country on 30,000 acres of Rocky Mountain wilderness. Phone:(307)327-5284
Wow! That was exhausting, now I need a vacation! I hope I’ve inspired you to get off your butt and find an adventure. Find that perfect family getaway that’s awaiting you.
Posted in Adventurous Places, North America, Travel Tips and tagged family getaways, vacation by Big John with 7 comments.
People are always coming up to me and asking, “Hey Big John, how can I see Europe on the cheap?” and “What’s the best way to travel Europe on a dime?” and “Why are you so ruggedly handsome?” Okay, so nobody’s ever actually asked me any of that stuff; but if they did, I would have a thing or two say about it!
Big John knows about traveling cheap and really making that dollar stretch! But you don’t have to take my word for it. I was only voted the number one travel consultant in the entire industry by Frugal Travel Guru magazine (it’s one of those lesser known publications). Because you are all such loyal readers, I’ve compiled a never-before-seen list of my most cost-effective strategies to travel Europe on a dime. I would ordinarily charge thousands of dollars for this information but today I’m giving it to you absolutely free!
Strategy #1: Get the lowest airfare possible.
There are several different methods one can employ to get a cheap flight or to at least not pay an arm and leg for a ticket. These methods include being flexible on your departure and arrival dates; being flexible with your departure city and the destination city you choose to fly into; thoroughly checking all search engines; and applying any and all discounts when available. There are also several budget airlines out there such as Ryanair that have been known to have ridiculously low rates getting in and around Europe.
Fly budget airlines to travel Europe on a dime.
Personally, my favorite strategy for getting the lowest airfare possible is to devise a plan where I pay nothing at all. “How does a person go about doing that?” you ask. I will let you in on a secret but please do not share this strategy outside our little circle. This is F.Y.E.O.!
Think about it. What is the best way to fly anywhere for free? That’s a no-brainer for sure! The best way to fly anywhere for free is to become an official member of the flight crew. Why rake out hundreds of hard-earned dollars to fly coach when you can stretch out in a spacious cockpit, tell aviator stories with peers, and just look and feel really, really cool?! What’s that you say? You’re not a pilot… You’ve never been to flight school… You don’t have an official pilot’s uniform… Now would Big John have brought you this far into things if I didn’t intend on seeing you all the way through? Absolutely not! You don’t need any special credentials, training, or flight hours to become part of a flight crew. All you really have to do is wait a couple of days and the answer to your prayers will come knocking on your door… Literally!
I think the best way to explain all of this is by utilizing illustrations which I’ve posted below. Now as you can see, the only difference between a Jehovah’s Witness and a commercial pilot is the bicycle helmet. That’s’ it! No questions asked! When you let those biblical boys on bicycles into your home and really become interested in their pamphlets; they’ll do anything for you! They‘ll even give you the shirt off their back… and that’s what you need. You need their shirt, their tie, and their pants too if you can manage it. I had to buy three of their bibles and get baptized twice, but the pants can be gotten at a reasonable price.
Jehovah Witnesses Commercial Airline Pilots
I’m seeing double here. There’s absolutely no difference between the two.
Strategy # 2: Find a low cost alternative to staying at ordinary hotels.
All throughout Europe there are a number of options one can take to avoid paying the high prices of hotel rooms. The most popular of these options is probably the hostel. For those of you unfamiliar with a hostel, it is an open-bay room or dormitory full of bunk beds. They usually come equipped with a shared bathroom, kitchen, and occasionally a lounge area too. The rooms can either be single-sex or coed; although private rooms can usually be found at a higher price. While privacy isn’t usually a feature at one of these places; a low-cost place to lay one’s head is. The average night’s stay at a hostel is between $20-$40 max.
Another option, one that’s just beginning to gain traction, is to rent a single room in a private house or dwelling for a short period of stay. Of course, there may be a bit of risk involved. Those people have no idea who they are letting into their front door. If this option sounds appealing, there are a few websites such as Airbnb.com and iStopOver.com that facilitate these types of arrangements.
Now I’ve just given you a couple of good strategies to finding low cost lodging in Europe. But if you’re anything like Big John, you don’t want a low-cost option. You want a no-cost option! If there’s one thing they have a lot of in Europe, they have plenty of monasteries and abbeys. In all of my travels I’ve never known one of these sacred places to turn down a poor and humble Franciscan monk. By donning an itchy brown robe and cutting the crown out the back of your head, you can easily assimilate rank and file into this pious brotherhood. Now, if you find incessant singing and chanting tiresome than you’d probably be better off revisiting one of the options previously discussed.
Strategy #3: Always eat with a budget in mind.
One of the most expensive things about traveling Europe is the price of food. One sure method to saving money on food is to eat where the locals eat in lieu of the more populated touristy places. Another great strategy when dining out is to eat your largest meals for breakfast and lunch since dinner entrees tend to be the most expensive thing on a menu. The most practical solution is to avoid dining out altogether. Whenever possible, do some shopping at the local markets and grocery stores, and then just prepare your own meals. You would be surprised how fun a picnic can be in the romantic countryside of France!
Of course, there’s always that other, less orthodox option. I found that if you can get your hands on a walking stick and some really dark Ray Ban sunglasses, you can pretty much go anywhere and eat totally free. It’s really so simple. Find a restaurant you’d like to try, Italian is always one of my favorites, and walk right in the front door. Do not stop at the hostess’ booth. Do not wait to be seated. Simply scan the room for a table with lots of food and an empty chair; then sit down and start to eat. No, the people already seated at that table won’t say anything… and if they do, just apologize for your embarrassing mistake and remind them what a hardship life can be when you have cataracts.
Try the fresh markets when traveling Europe on a dime.
Strategy #4: Use various means and modes of transportation to get from place to place.
They say that on your journey through life, it’s not so much where you end up but rather the paths you took to get there. I don’t know if they really say that, but it sure did sound good-didn’t it? When traveling through Europe there are numerous cost-effective options for getting from place to place. Ryanair is probably the most budget friendly airline around. When booking with this airline, it is possible to find flights between countries for $25 to $30 one-way. If air travel really isn’t your thing, you can likely find some amazing deals on the high-speed rail services such as Eurostar. These super-sonic trains are usually inexpensive and cover vast distances across the face of Europe in a relatively short amount of time.
Of course, Big John enjoys backpacking and using his thumb to get him where he needs to go. Hitchhiking is a totally free and fun way to travel; but it can also be the most dangerous option around. If you decide on hitchhiking, allow me to offer a bit of advice. (This is one lesson I learned the hard way!) While it may seem like an extra bonus to get in the car with someone offering candy, he’s usually got plans to share more than just a pack of Twizzlers with you! Always choose your rides carefully so you can arrive at your destination with your self-respect and dignity still intact.
Finally, if any of these tips and strategies I’ve shared with you on how to travel Europe on a dime should fail… worse yet, if any of these tips and strategies should land you on the next episode of Locked Up Abroad- don’t go calling up Big John trying to find somebody to blame! I’m just a travel consultant.
Posted in Europe, Tall Tales and Big Fish Stories, Travel Tips and tagged travel europe on a dime by Big John with 7 comments.